Congenital cardiac vascular malformation in a calf

Dominique Comeau, Amanda Mansz

Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

AHL Newsletter 2023;27(2):9.

Following the identification of a large heart mass in a young veal calf at slaughter, a partial section of the heart was submitted to the AHL for histologic evaluation.  On gross examination, the mass measured 10 cm x 7 cm x 5 cm, had a smooth pink to tan mottled surface, and protruded into what appeared to be the right ventricular chamber.  On cut section, there were multiple empty tubular channels and blind-ended pockets lined by fibrous tissue that resembled large blood vessels (Fig. 1).  On histologic examination, the mass was composed of multiple large vascular channels with thick fibrous tissue walls (Fig. 2). These vessels were surrounded by abundant adipose tissue and irregular islands of atrophic heart muscle.  Areas of the heart distant from the mass were histologically unremarkable.

Vascular hamartomas have been uncommonly reported in the hearts of cattle at slaughter, and represent benign proliferations of structures endogenous to a specific tissue.  Abundant mature adipose tissue has been reported associated with these masses, as was seen in this case.  These malformations are not generally associated with clinical disease.  AHL

Mass composed of vascular channels photo

Figure 1.  Mass composed of multiple large vascular channels within the wall of the presumed right ventricular wall.

Overview of mass photo

Figure 2.  Overview of the histologic section of the mass.  It is composed of abundant adipose tissue and cardiac muscle containing irregular, large vascular channels.  H&E stain.


1. Sugiyama A, et al. Cardiac vascular hamartoma in two slaughtered cattle. J Comp Path 2007;136 (2-3):202-205.